Historical Note

Arrangement

Scope and Content

Physical/Technical Access

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Preferred Citation

Inventory   [ + ]

Subject Terms


Preliminary Guide to the Seattle Funeral Homes Records Collection
1916-1999



Manuscript Collection No.: 5522, 5529
Title: Seattle funeral homes records collection
Date Span: 1916-1999
Quantity: circa 134 cubic feet (155 boxes)
Languages: Collection materials are in English.




Historical Note

Several independent businesses' records combine to form the Seattle Funeral Homes Records Collection. These businesses themselves combined through many mergers and acquisitions over the years, until finally Acacia Funeral Home possessed all of the records (with the exception of Sessions Funeral Home). These mergers resulted in several name changes for some of the businesses, which were also often colloquially referenced with name variations. For example, University Funeral Parlor was also known as University Undertaking; when Forkner Funeral Home merged with Acacia Funeral Home it became Forkner-Acacia for the three year period in which its records were kept separately from Acacia's; Clark-Rafferty & Putnam was originally Rafferty Undertaking, and is also referred to as Clark-Rafferty and Rafferty-Putnam; Acacia Funeral Home's variations include Adams Morrison Mortuary, Adams Forkner Acacia, and Acacia Forkner & Home.

Arrangement

These records are separated into series by funeral home:

Sessions Funeral Home, 1916-1937
Home Undertaking Company, 1918-1977
University Funeral Parlor, circa 1920-1968
Bothell Funeral Home, 1936-1963
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam, 1939-1978
Acacia Funeral Home, 1964-1999
Forkner Funeral Home, 1971-1974
Seattle Mortuary, 1976-1981

In each series, the original order and indexing methods used by the originating funeral home have been preserved as well as possible.

Scope and Content

The Seattle Funeral Home Records Collection combines funeral home records from eight separate businesses in the Seattle area; most were maintained through a series of mergers and acquisitions until 1999. These records are usually comprised of data sheets or cards describing arrangements for funerals, cremations, or both - including detailed information about the deceased (name, age, next of kin, cause of death, insurance information, etc.). Data sheets also list the date of the funeral or cremation and details of the memorial service: the coffin, the headstone, the flowers, the music, etc. Finally, these cards often state information about the cost of these services and the arrangements for payment. Other related material is sometimes filed with the data sheets, such as newspaper clippings or typescripts of obituaries. In some of the later records, medical or hospital records related to the client's death are included. The larger series include alphabetical indexes to the data sheets.

Some records are fairly complete for the duration of that funeral home's operation, while others cover only a few years out of a longer span. See scope and content notes at the series level for more specific detail.

These records will be useful for genealogists, historians, and anyone interested in the death arrangements made in the Seattle area over most of the twentieth century.

For general researchers, one of the highlights of the collection is the Home Undertaking uncollectible accounts index. In this group, each index card lists multiple attempts to acquire payment, as well as notes describing the family's (or individual's) financial situation. Many of these cards date from the Great Depression.

There are also many records from the funeral homes active during the 1940s of funerals for WWII soldiers killed in action which may be of historical interest.

Physical/Technical Access

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Researchers who are not able to visit Special Collections in person maysubmit a search request online.

Restrictions on Use

Literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries. Unless restricted by deed of gift, records can be photocopied.

Preferred Citation

Seattle Funeral Homes Records Collection, 5522-001 / 5529-001, University of Washington Libraries.


Inventory

  
Accession No. 5522-001
Sessions Funeral Home records, 1916-1937
3 bound ledgers (3 boxes)
Arrangement
Arranged chronologically. Each volume contains an alphabetical index.
Historical Note
Sessions Funeral Home (aka Sessions Mortuary), of Kirkland, Washington, is the only funeral home that was not involved in the mergers and acquisitions connecting the others in this collection. In 1923 Elmer L. Sessions built a new structure to house his mortuary, which included a five-room apartment for his family. Sessions Funeral Home operated until 1941 when it was bought by John R. Clark, continuing as a funeral home until 1947, after which the building served many purposes; it has functioned as the Kirkland City Hall Annex since 2006.
Source: Memorandum from Kirkland City Council meeting of September 2, 2008
Scope and Content
The records of Sessions Funeral Home from 1916-1937. The second and third volumes contain a printed statement from the ledger publisher on "Funeral Ethics" which provides clues about cultural demands and practices for mortuaries around funerals and death in the early twentieth century.
Custodial History
These records passed into the possession of John R. Clark of Woodinville, a relative of the John R. Clark who purchased the funeral home from Sessions. The volumes were then given to Barbara Pearson of the Eastside Genealogical Society, who gave them to the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society. After the TPCGS published the records, they were transferred to the Bellevue Archives, and subsequently donated to the University of Washington.
Acquisition Info
Source: Bellevue Archives, 2000.
Bibliography
Sessions Funeral Home records, Kirkland, Washington. (Tacoma: Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society, 1999).
BoxDate
153Sessions Funeral Home volume 11916 October 29-1926 March 11
154Sessions Funeral Home volume 21926 March 16-1931 September 4
155Sessions Funeral Home volume 31931 September 15-1937 January 28

  
Accession No. 5529-001
Seattle funeral homes records collection, 1918-1999
Custodial History
These records are the accumulated result of several mergers of Seattle area funeral homes over a period of years. Evergreen-Washelli acquired Acacia Funeral Home in 2001, at which time the records were transferred into Evergreen-Washelli's possession.
Acquisition Info
Source: Evergeen-Washelli, 2008.
Processing Info
Files are in original order as they were boxed by Evergreen-Washelli staff from the original file cabinets in 2007.
BoxDate
Home Undertaking Company1918-1977 March
75 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged in two subseries:
Home Undertaking data sheets, 1918-1977
Home Undertaking indexes, 1918-1977
Scope and Content: The records of Home Undertaking Company from January 1918 to March 1977. This funeral home opened in 1913, so these records are fairly complete. The indexes describe the data sheets.
Home Undertaking data sheets1918-1977
57 boxes
Arrangement: Data sheets are on index cards in rough numerical order, which is also roughly chronological. Because of this "rough" numbering and ordering, some considerable overlaps and gaps are evident in the list below, which does not necessarily signify missing data.
The data sheets are bundled into groups by month, most frequently with the earliest cards at the bottom, but sometimes in reverse. There is usually an extra card on top, indexing the names and numbers for the records from that month.
1Home Undertaking data sheets #521-22181918-1921
2Home Undertaking data sheets #2219-36491922 January-1925 February
3Home Undertaking data sheets #3650-49291925 March-1927 May
4Home Undertaking data sheets #4930-60781927 June-1929 March
5Home Undertaking data sheets #6167-71401929 May-1930 October
6Home Undertaking data sheets #7159-78181930 November-1931 September
7Home Undertaking data sheets #7832-82741931 October-1932 April
8Home Undertaking data sheets #8248-87511932 May-1933 January
9Home Undertaking data sheets #8789-92701933 February-October
10Home Undertaking data sheets #9289-97901933 November-1934 July
11Home Undertaking data sheets #9807-102851934 August-1935 March
12Home Undertaking data sheets #10310-108271935 April-December
13Home Undertaking data sheets #10724-114001936 January-August
14Home Undertaking data sheets #11436-119531936 September-1937 February
15Home Undertaking data sheets #11830-125111937 March-October
16Home Undertaking data sheets #12470-130281937 November-1938 April
17Home Undertaking data sheets #12988-135121938 May-November
18Home Undertaking data sheets #13503-140691938 December-1939 April
19Home Undertaking data sheets #13994-147181939 May-November
20Home Undertaking data sheets #14696-153571939 December-1940 June
21Home Undertaking data sheets #15321-160201940 July-1941 January
22Home Undertaking data sheets #16012-165621941 February-June
23Home Undertaking data sheets #16536-171151941 July-November
24Home Undertaking data sheets #17102-177211941 December-1942 April
25Home Undertaking data sheets #17643-182591942 May-September
26Home Undertaking data sheets #18206-188231942 October-1943 January
27Home Undertaking data sheets #18770-194311943 February-May
28Home Undertaking data sheets #19386-200511943 June-October
29Home Undertaking data sheets #20001-206931943 November-1944 March
30Home Undertaking data sheets #20663-212971944 April-August
31Home Undertaking data sheets #21237-219921944 September-1945 February
32Home Undertaking data sheets #21777-226791945 March-October
33Home Undertaking data sheets #22657-233021945 November-1946 June
34Home Undertaking data sheets #23291-239011946 July-1947 March
35Home Undertaking data sheets #23893-244881947 April-November
36Home Undertaking data sheets #24455-249861947 December-1948 May
57Cremations for out of town burials1947-1948
General Notes: Numbered 1-11
Scope and Content: Includes burials for Bainbridge Island.
37Home Undertaking data sheets #24977-254501948 June-November
38Home Undertaking data sheets #25440-259151948 December-1949 June
39Home Undertaking data sheets #25796-264071949 July-1950 February
40Home Undertaking data sheets #26396-268771950 March-October
41Home Undertaking data sheets #26872-273581950 November-1951 July
42Home Undertaking data sheets #27347-278631951 August-1952 April
43Home Undertaking data sheets #27857-283641952 May-1953 January
44Home Undertaking data sheets #28359-289961953 February-1954 February
45Home Undertaking data sheets #28982-297691954 March-1955 June
46Home Undertaking data sheets #29765-304721955 July-1956 September
47Home Undertaking data sheets #30466-310461956 October-1957 November
48Home Undertaking data sheets #31033-316301957 December-1959 February
49Home Undertaking data sheets #31628-322291959 March-1960 June
50Home Undertaking data sheets #32227-327781960 July-1961 December
57Miscellaneous1960-1961
General Notes: Bundles with no case numbers assigned.
51Home Undertaking data sheets #32773-332951962 January-1964 September
52Home Undertaking data sheets #33322-338841964 October-1967 August
53Home Undertaking data sheets #33884-344651967 September-1969 October
54Home Undertaking data sheets #34465-350441969 November-1971 September
55Home Undertaking data sheets #35045-356591971 October-1973 November
56Home Undertaking data sheets #35660-362591973 December-1976 September
57Home Undertaking data sheets #36273-363291976 October-1977 March
Home Undertaking indexes1918-1977
18 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged in five groups:
Primary alphabetical index
Secondary alphabetical index
Special index: cremated remains only (A-Z)
Special index: letters returned (A-Z)
Special index: uncollectable accounts (A-Z)
58Home Undertaking primary index: A-Bla
59Home Undertaking primary index: Bla-Cla
60Home Undertaking primary index: C-D
61Home Undertaking primary index: E-G
62Home Undertaking primary index: G-H
63Home Undertaking primary index: H-K
64Home Undertaking primary index: K-Ma
65Home Undertaking primary index: Ma-Mz; McA-McFad
66Home Undertaking primary index: McFad-McZ; N-P
67Home Undertaking primary index: P-S
68Home Undertaking primary index: S
69Home Undertaking primary index: S-W
70Home Undertaking primary index: W-Z
71Home Undertaking secondary index: A-ZJanuary 1956-May 1969
Scope and Content: This index actually contains records into the 1970s.
72Home Undertaking cremated remains index: A-Knu
73Home Undertaking cremated remains index: Knu-Z
74Home Undertaking letters returned index: A-Z
Scope and Content: This index also contains miscellaneous cards ("code cards").
75Home Undertaking uncollectable accounts index: A-Z1918-1977
University Funeral Parlorcirca 1920-1968
12 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by last name.
General Notes: Alphabetic ranges taken from box labels added by Evergreen-Washelli staff.
Scope and Content: The records of the University Funeral Parlor, circa 1920-1968.
76University Funeral Parlor data sheets: A-Blu
77University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Boa-Cly
78University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Coa-Equ
79University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Erb-Hal
80University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Ham-Jan
81University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Jar-Llu
82University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Lob-Moo
83University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Mor-Pix
84University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Pla-Sey
85University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Sha-Thw
86University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Tib-Wru
87University Funeral Parlor data sheets: Wul-Zyz
Bothell Funeral Home1936-1963
Five ledger volumes (1 box)
Arrangement: Each bound volume of data sheets is in chronological order and contains its own alphabetical index.
Scope and Content: The records of the Bothell Funeral Home between 1936 and 1963.
88Bothell Funeral Home data sheets, volume 11936 October 5-1945 August 3
88Bothell Funeral Home data sheets, volume 21945 August 14-1951 October 13
88Bothell Funeral Home data sheets, volume 31951 October 25-1956 June 8
88Bothell Funeral Home data sheets, volume 41956 June 8-1959 December 3
88Bothell Funeral Home data sheets, volume 51959 December 17-1963 February 18
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam1939-1978
9 boxes
Historical Note : This funeral home opened as Rafferty Undertaking in 1920, moved and was renamed Rafferty-Putnam in 1930.
Arrangement: Arranged in two series:
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam data sheets, 1939-1978
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam index, 1972-1978
Scope and Content: The records of Clark-Rafferty & Putnam between 1939 and 1978. These records appear to be complete for the period in which the business was named Clark-Rafferty & Putnam; in 1978 the company was absorbed by another funeral home.
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam data sheets1939-1978
8 boxes
Arrangement: Data sheets are in multiple locations and formats, depending on the year of the funeral. Overlapping systems were apparently in place for many years, resulting in a somewhat complicated and redundant arrangement peculiar to this organization, which has been preserved. Four main subgroups of data sheets exist:
Unnumbered loose data sheets, 1939-1959
Ledger data sheets, 1953-1969
Ring-bound data sheets, 1960-1977
Numbered loose data sheets, 1972-1978
For 1972-1978: letter size file box 96: data sheets in chronological order dated January 1972-October 1978 and numbered C173-C603. Indexed by cards in box 97.
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam unnumbered loose data sheets1939-1959
Arrangement: Data sheets are mostly in chronological order beginning November 26, 1941 (1939, 1940, and most of 1941 are not in order). No reliable or consistent case numbers were assigned to these records, and there is no alphabetical index.
General Notes: Some of the data sheets, from the period 1953-1959, can be cross-referenced from the bound ledgers in the next subgroup.
89 Unnumbered loose data sheets1939-1946
90Unnumbered loose data sheets1947-1955
91Unnumbered loose data sheets1957-1959
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam ledger data sheets1953 March 20-1969 September 2
Arrangement: Each bound volume of data sheets is in chronological order and contains its own alphabetical index. No reliable or consistent case numbers were assigned to these records.
General Notes: The alphabetical index in each ledger may also describe records from the subgroup "Unnumbered loose data sheets" for the overlapping years 1953-1959.
These records seem to precede the subgroup "Numbered loose data sheets" (1972-1978).
92Bound ledger #12/171953 March 20-1955 August 18
92Bound ledger #13/181955 August 20-1957 November 16
92Bound ledger #14/191957 November 18-1960 March 15
92Bound ledger #15/201960 March 18-1962 June 23
93Bound ledger #16/211962 July 2-1964 November 2
93Bound ledger #17/221964 November 3-1967 April 27
93Bound ledger #18/231967 April 27-1969 September 2
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam ring-bound data sheets1960-1977
Arrangement: Data sheets are in chronological order. No reliable or consistent case numbers were assigned to these records.
General Notes: No alphabetical index exists for the earlier records, but data sheets for 1972-1977 can be cross referenced using the Clark-Rafferty & Putnam index in box 97.
94Ring-bound data sheets1960 June 23-1970 December 31
95Ring-bound data sheets1971-1977
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam numbered loose data sheets 1972 January-1978 October
96Numbered loose data sheets C173-C6031972 January-1978 October
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam index1972 January-1978 October
1 box
Scope and Content: Index describes the subgroup "Numbered loose data sheets."
97Clark-Rafferty & Putnam alphabetical index, A-Z1972 January-1978 October
Acacia Funeral Home1964-1999
49 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged in two subseries:
Acacia data sheets, 1964-1999
Acacia index cards, 1964-1999
Scope and Content: The complete records of the Acacia Funeral Home from its opening in 1964 to its closing in 1999, at which point it was acquired by Evergreen-Washelli.
General Notes: Because Acacia Funeral Home engaged in several mergers with and acquisitions of other funeral parlors, it has been referred to under several different names: Adams Morrison Mortuary, Adams Forkner Acacia, Acacia Forkner & Home, etc.
Acacia Data Sheets1964-1999
44 boxes
Arrangement: Data sheets are in order by file number, which closely approximates chronological order.
General Notes: Slight overlap in dates is evident in the box listings.
98Acacia Data Sheets #001-6991964 May 23-1967 October 17
99Acacia Data Sheets #700-14991967 October 18-1970 April 21
100Acacia Data Sheets #1500-26991970 April 20-1973 July 13
101Acacia Data Sheets #2700-38991973 July 16-1976 February 6
102Acacia Data Sheets #3900-49991976 February 5-1978 March 6
103Acacia Data Sheets #5000-60491978 March 5-1980 February 4
104Acacia Data Sheets #6050-65501980 February 4-1980 December 29
105Acacia Data Sheets #6551-70501980 December 30-1981 December 5
106Acacia Data Sheets #7051-75501981 December 5-1982 October 22
107Acacia Data Sheets #7551-80501982 October 25-1983 September 30
108Acacia Data Sheets #8051-85501983 September 30-1984 September 4
109Acacia Data Sheets #8551-89991984 September 4-1985 July 19
110Acacia Data Sheets #9000-93991985 July 19-1986 April 8
111Acacia Data Sheets #9400-97311986 April 9-1986 December 5
112Acacia Data Sheets #9732-99991986 December 8-1987 June 3
113Acacia Data Sheets #10000-102991987 June 4-1988 January 9
114Acacia Data Sheets #10300-105991988 January 8-1988 July 27
115Acacia Data Sheets #10600-110501988 July 26-1989 May 18
116Acacia Data Sheets #11051-112991989 May 17-1989 November 7
117Acacia Data Sheets #11300-115501989 November 4-1990 March 20
118Acacia Data Sheets #11551-117991990 March 23-1990 August 29
119Acacia Data Sheets #11800-120501990 September 6-1991 February 9
120Acacia Data Sheets #12051-122991991 February 9-1991 July 27
121Acacia Data Sheets #12300-125501991 July 26-1992 January 25
122Acacia Data Sheets #12551-127991992 January 25-1992 June 24
123Acacia Data Sheets #12800-130501992 June 24-1992 December 26
124Acacia Data Sheets #13051-132501992 December 28-1993 April 28
125Acacia Data Sheets #13251-134501993 April 29-1993 September 16
126Acacia Data Sheets #13451-136501993 September 14-1994 January 27
127Acacia Data Sheets #13651-138501994 January 28-1994 June 29
128Acacia Data Sheets #13851-140501994 July 2-1994 December 17
141Acacia / Adams-Morrison Mortuary Data Sheets #M-0001-M00191994 January 7-1994 December 30
Scope and Content: This small group of records appear to cover some overlap in activities during the merger of Adams-Morrison Mortuary with Acacia Funeral Home. Some of the files are referenced by the Acacia index cards.
129Acacia Data Sheets #14051-142501994 December 13-1995 April 25
130Acacia Data Sheets #14251-144501995 April 27-1995 October 14
131Acacia Data Sheets #14451-146501995 October 17-1996 March 9
132Acacia Data Sheets #14651-148501996 March 11-1996 August 20
133Acacia Data Sheets #14851-150001996 August 16-1996 December 6
134Acacia Data Sheets #15001-151801996 December 7-1997 April 7
135Acacia Data Sheets #15181-153501997 April 9-1997 September 4
136Acacia Data Sheets #15351-155301997 September 5-1998 February 7
137Acacia Data Sheets #15531-157201998 February 4-1998 July 11
138Acacia Data Sheets #15721-158991998 July 25-1998 December 13
139Acacia Data Sheets #15900-160801998 December 15-1999 May 2
140Acacia Data Sheets #16081-160921999 May 14-1999 May 19
Acacia Index Cards1964-1999
5 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically.
142Acacia Index Cards A-E
143Acacia Index Cards F-K
144Acacia Index Cards L-Q
145Acacia Index Cards R-W
146Acacia Index Cards W-Z
Forkner Funeral Home1971-1974
1 box
Arrangement: Data sheets are in chronological order and are numbered.
Scope and Content: Records of the Forkner Funeral Home between 1971 and 1974. There are very few records from 1971, but 1972-1974 appears to be more complete. This funeral home opened in 1939, so the records here are not comprehensive, representing only the period immediately following Forkner's merger with Acacia Funeral Home, when it was referred to as Forkner-Acacia.
147Forkner data sheets F18461-141 through F19080-1241971-1974
Seattle Mortuary1976-1981
5 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged in two subseries:
Seattle Mortuary data sheets, 1976-1981
Seattle Mortuary index cards, 1976-1981
Scope and Content: The records of the Seattle Mortuary between 1976 and 1981. These records appear to be complete, as the business opened in 1976 and was absorbed by Acacia Funeral Home in 1981.
Seattle Mortuary data sheets1976-1981
3 boxes
Arrangement: Data sheets are in chronological order and are numbered sequentially.
148Seattle Mortuary data sheets #001-5001976 October 1-1977 July 3
149Seattle Mortuary data sheets #501-33991977 July 3-1980 March 19
150Seattle Mortuary data sheets #3400-47491980 March 19-1981 July 31
Seattle Mortuary index cards1976-1981
2 boxes
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically.
151Seattle Mortuary index cards A-M
152Seattle Mortuary index cards M-Z + miscellaneous cards
Scope and Content: Miscellaneous cards include contact info for related services such as hairdresser, Russian Orthodox Church, etc.

Subject Terms

Organizations:
Acacia Funeral Home, creator.
Bothell Funeral Home, creator.
Clark-Rafferty & Putnam, creator.
Forkner Funeral Home, creator.
Home Undertaking Company, creator.
Seattle Mortuary, creator.
Sessions Funeral Home (Kirkland, Wash.), creator.
University Funeral Parlor, creator.
Geographic Names:
King County (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)
Seattle (Wash.)--Genealogy.
Seattle (Wash.)--History.
Subjects:
Funeral homes--Washington (State)--King County.
Funeral homes--Washington (State)--Seattle.
Undertakers and undertaking.
Last modified: December 01, 2010
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